Fantasticon2008, Copenhagen, 26 – 27 April

This is a small Danish convention with a few hundred people attending. Only foreign Guest was Norman Spinrad. The con was held in the “Vanloese Kulturhus” (cultural house) in nice large rooms and a terrace. Even the weather cooperated and we could sit outside chatting along between the programmed events. I arrived there after a long (12 hour) drive and a few hours of sleep.

On Saturday I went to the interview with Niels Brunse who has translated a large amount of English language books into Danish, and also written stories of his own. He was, among other subjects, talking about the difficulty of making a good translation, something I can relate to in a limited capacity, having attempted translation in both directions between Danish and English. Some elegant words or phrases in one language translate *very* poorly into the other.

Sunday had a surprise guest speaker, the Danish physicist Holger Bech Nielsen, giving a presentation of his version of the “theory of everything” : “Random Dynamics”. He is a *very* lively lecturer, and it is always fun to see him, his enthusiasm for the subject is just radiating from him. This was the first time I saw him “live”, the other times were just on television.

Arthur C. Clarke :

For me the best part of the programme on Sunday was the panel discussion about Arthur C. Clarke, the panel consisting of 3 Danish fans and the guest speaker Norman Spinrad. Spinrad had sopme cooperation with Clarke in the 1960’s and could tell us that the final scene of the movie “2001 – A Space Odyssey” was in fact not the one we saw in the movie. Clarke had envisioned a scene with very beautiful aliens, but it was not technically possible to do to his satisfaction – meaning the scene had to be rewritten.

Clarke’s relatively optimistic view of the future has by some been regarded as naive, but it most probably is an expression of his dream about the future.

Finally there was a discussion of Clarke’s unusual combination of hard science fiction and the “mystical” (for lack of a better word), something very prominent in “2001”, but it is in much of his other work.

Of course, you cannot mention Arthur C. Clarke without talking about his strong influence on science and technology (as well as science fiction), interesting to see how many of his early thoughts have come true already.

All in all a very nice week end , I will try to make it again next year.

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